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2011 Banana River Regatta Goes Off!
Posted On:  08/03/2011 11:10:37

The first springtime Banana River Regatta was held March 4-6 at the Banana River Resort, hosted by Dominique Vallee. We had solid planing winds for at least part of the day each day. Friday morning, race director Darren Rodgers set a box course with 3 upwind legs, a reach and two downwind runs. Winds were strong out of the east, with the top of the fleet were generally on 11 meter sails. Late Friday afternoon, the wind piped up more, at which point the organizers made the call to do a long distance race. Winds for this race were solidly over 20 knots. I switched over from Formula to a "tiny" 7.4 on a Kona for this race and was still fully lit up. There were a few blowups out on the course among the formula racers, but they took it in stride.

Saturday, three races were held in relatively normal Florida conditions – the first race was just breezy enough so that everyone could plane comfortably around the course, followed shortly thereafter by a windier second race. The third race of the day (also back to back) was held in a dying breeze. Ron Kern won convincingly on a 12 meter sail (which he had used for all 3 races), but unfortunately, more than half the fleet had fallen off a plane about halfway into the race. No Florida formula regatta is complete without at least one of these!

Sunday, after getting a fair amount of grief about my using a 9.8 all day Saturday, and getting creamed on race 3 because of it, I decided I would "man up" and rig my biggest sail, an 11, because surely the wind would get lighter as it shifted to the southwest. Wrong! It shifted and started nuking. Most of the fleet completed the first race of the day on their larger gear and then came in to re-rig. Four races were held in perfect PWA style formula conditions. Even with sailors on their smallest sails and fins for races 2, 3 and 4 of Sunday, it was really the top one-third of the fleet that was comfortable out there, with the rest retiring in the second or third race of the day. Standout sailors for Sunday were Ron Kern (who continues to have outstanding speed), Britt Viehman, Cullen Ahearn, Chris Gardiner, and Jacksonville’s best working family man formula representative, Vincent Barre, whose consistent results earned him second place.

Overall, the results were 1. Ron Kern, 2. Vincent Barre, 3. Cullen Ahearn, 4. Britt Viehman, 5. Chris Gardiner. Monica Arche, Karen Mariott and Nancy Johnson also sailed strong, with Karen looking relaxed Sunday in what some might call extreme formula conditions, and with Monica and Nancy neck-and-neck in Saturday’s racing. In the Kona class, Charlestonian Dave Stanger dominated the fleet with strong tactical sailing and speed, and with Steve Gottlieb in a solid second. Andree Gauthier of Canada was the top female finisher, with third overall. Darren Rogers, aided by Nancy Rios, Dominique Vallee and others, did an awesome job with race management and the occasional rescue.

Aside from all of this racing (and was there ever some racing!), the hospitality side of the regatta was probably the best that there has ever been. Former RS:X sailor Gul Tercan prepared awesome lunches and dinner Saturday night – everything from arroz con pollo to a really good broccoli salad, pasta, salad, and cheesecake! Vicki Rayl, Sue Kern, Dominique and grillmaster Eduardo Owen worked hard behind the scenes also to make sure we were well fed. Beth and Greg Winkler, owners of the BRR, were extremely gracious to allow us to have an open-invitation regatta at their place. All in all, a great regatta – I just have to quit my day job to train 6 days a week so that I can start and finish every race at the next one!

report by : Tom Ingram

final results CLICK HERE

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